In 2012, Sue Austen became the first person in the world to scuba dive while strapped to a self-propelled underwater wheelchair. Spectacular footage of Austen darting among coral reefs and schools of fish aired as part of the 2012 Olympic celebrations.
Austen captured the world’s attention. She also proved that people with mobility disabilities can safely take part in extreme outdoor sports.
Whether scuba diving appeals to you or not, spring is a great time to get your Concord, NC wheelchair outdoors. The amount of wheelchair-accessible activities available might surprise you.
If you decide to give these activities a go, it is important to ensure you know how to do so safely.
Types of Wheelchairs
The best way to stay safe in your wheelchair outdoors will depend on the type of wheelchair you have.
With so many wheelchairs available, determining the best wheelchair for your specific needs can be a daunting task. While it is always best to seek the help of a wheelchair expert, we have compiled a list of some of the most common types of wheelchairs to get you started.
Complex Rehabilitation Chairs
Complex rehabilitation chairs can be customized to meet an individual’s specific mobility needs. Identifying the right configuration can be a long process. When selecting a complex rehabilitation chair, ensure the company is willing to work closely with your doctor to identify the best solution for your needs.
A power chair, also known as an electric wheelchair, is, as its name suggests, powered by an electric motor. Power chairs are ideal for individuals lacking the capacity to operate a manual wheelchair.
Mobility scooters are ideal for individuals who need support getting around. If walking long distances is a struggle, simple tasks such as grocery shopping can be a struggle. Portable mobility scooters can ease these issues.
Manual wheelchairs are ideal for people who cannot walk, or can only walk short distances. They provide a great way to stay fit and maintain upper body strength.
How to Safely Operate a Wheelchair Outdoors
More and more outdoor activities and events are becoming accessibility friendly. Down under, Australia held its first Ability Fest—a fully accessible music festival.
There is no reason someone in a wheelchair cannot take part in most outdoor activities. That said, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your outdoor experience is safe and enjoyable.
1. Stay on Solid, Even Surfaces
Ensure the path you are taking is wheelchair-friendly. Most wheelchairs perform best when on solid surfaces. It is best to avoid obstructions, cracks, and unstable materials such as sand.
While some chairs have wheels that are designed to go ‘off-road’, most wheelchairs do not. Electric wheelchairs in particular have been known to tip over on sandy surfaces. Steep inclines and declines can also be hazardous. As such, staying on flat surfaces is always advised. If you need to use a ramp, go slowly and ensure it is dry and free from obstructions.
2. Check the Weather Before Going Out
While bad weather can put a damper on any outdoor activity, it is particularly destructive to wheelchairs. Rain, snow, and ice can make solid, flat surfaces slippery and unsafe. Water can also make the chair slippery. This could cause someone to fall if they are not strapped in with a seat belt.
3. Make Use of Safety Features
Wheelchair safety features are there for a reason. It may seem obvious, but utilizing these safety features can prevent accidents.
When entering or exiting the wheelchair, always be sure to use the brakes. Keep your feet from getting caught in the wheels or scraping along the path by using the foot supports. Always wear a seatbelt. Store baggage on your lap to avoid destabilizing your center of gravity.
4. Charge Your Battery Every Night
Avoid getting stranded and charge your battery every night. It could be the difference between an enjoyable outing and a stressful ordeal.
If you plan on traveling for more than a few days, ensure your wheelchair is fully charged. It is also a good idea to bring your charging device with you.
How to Get the Most From Your Concord NC Portable Power Wheelchair Battery
A healthy battery will help you make the most of your wheelchair. It will also make it last longer and save you money over time. There are some steps you can take to ensure your battery remains in optimal condition.
One way to lengthen the life of your battery is to drive sensibly and at a consistent speed. This will place less pressure on your battery to perform.
The way you charge your battery can also make a difference. Always charge your wheelchair battery with the charger that came with your chair. Cheap chargers may damage the battery or your chair over time.
The regularity of charging also plays a role in battery life. Ensuring your battery does not go below 80% is a simple way to extend battery life. While it will not always be possible to stay above 80%, it’s a good goal to strive for.
Fun Spring Activities You Can Do In Your Concord Wheelchair
Not too hot or cold, spring days are ideal for safe and enjoyable outdoor adventures. Particularly for people with wheelchairs.
You might be surprised by the range of accessibility-friendly outdoor activities available in Concord, NC. With a few adaptions, just about any sport can be inclusive of people in wheelchairs.
While you can not usually take your wheelchair in with you, swimming is a great way to stay active as the weather warms up. Flotation devices or pool lifts can make swimming a simple way to get active in spring.
Boating and Fishing
Spring is a great time to get out on the water. From sailboats to pontoons, most boats can be easily adapted for wheelchair accessibility. Fishing from the bank is even easier. Select a spot with dry, even surfaces. This could include a wheelchair-friendly pier, bridge, or solid riverbank.
Now Is the Time to Get Your Concord Wheelchair Outdoors
With spring just around the corner, now is the time to get outside! However, it’s important to do so safely.
If you or a loved one need assistance finding solutions to ensure your wheelchair outdoors experience is a safe and enjoyable one, get in contact with our expert team.